Aberystwyth Transitions Reading Group Blog

Reading about ‘Sacrifice’ – Friday Dec 13th – Venue Changed to Arts Centre

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On Friday the 13th (how ominous!) we’ll be meeting in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre (note: NOT at the Glen as previously stated) to talk about ‘Sacrifice’, more specifically a chapter of that title in the fresh-off-the-press edited volume Critical Environmental Politics. A copy of the chapter is available from Kelvin, Sam or myself, so please email us if you would like to read it and come along.

The chapter discusses how the notion that we should make sacrifices for a greater good, social or environmental, has been looked at by different groups of environmentalists, and the impacts this has upon the message coming from those groups. For some, the idea that we should sacrifice certain levels of material wealth and accumulation in order that we as a society or species take better care of the earth and resources we rely on is one which has had its day. Certain groups of modern environmentalists instead argue that we should simply change how we do things, make buildings more efficient for example, consume different products, rather than giving anything up about our lifestyles. The latter message is appealing to many, while the more ascetic and disciplined approach may be a hard sell to those engaged in the pleasurable consumption and accumulation of wealth and material goods. The ideas in this chapter should provide a great basis for discussion, even if you haven’t read it! Also, have a look at the comment on the last blog post for some context from Dr. Carl Death (the book’s editor).

Do come along to the discussion, even if you haven’t been to any of the previous ones. Look forward to seeing you there!

One thought on “Reading about ‘Sacrifice’ – Friday Dec 13th – Venue Changed to Arts Centre

  1. I think we were a bit disappointed with this reading. It seems a long time ago now, but my recollection is that there wasn’t much theorisation or even definition of ‘sacrifice’ – a potentially fascinating topic with all its religious and different cultural implications. Also, the chapter seemed very ‘western’ consumer centric… That said, it did stimulate a lively debate. I remember that I understood Wappner’s notion of sacrifice by referring to my own experience of giving up smoking via Alan Carr’s approach or realising that what I was giving up was all negative. So sacrifice by that token is no sacrifice at all, but a joyful gain: I think that works as an alternative worldview on consumerism? Some reading I have been doing since challenges and ethics approach to environmental problems – be the ethic sacrifice, sufficiency, frugality or whatever – bringing the issue back to politics (Negotiating Climate Change, Amanda Machin). We finished the discussion by coming up with what I think looks a stimulating set of readings/viewings/listenings that takes us through til May.

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